Senika J. O’Connor
University of Colorado Denver - 2019
Educational equity in under-resourced communities
Project: Education equity as it relates to pedagogy: concentrate on the social, economic and academic challenges black and brown students face. She will research the intersections of race, culture and microaggressions as it relates to education and work towards fostering inclusivity. In the following year, she intends to gain experience working with K-12 students in the Denver Metro area. Furthermore, she plans to work closely with students, parents and educators, promoting culturally responsive teaching, encouraging a culture of restorative justice and equity in education. She hopes to ultimately pursue a career in education policy, as it pertains to the disproportionate rates of academic success for black and brown students.
Inspiration: Growing up I often found myself in a classroom where no one looked like me. The history books only reflected faces similar to my own when we learned about slavery in America. It was challenging to navigate and make sense of who I was in relation to these environments.
When I was old enough to work inside the walls of public education, I noticed that there were students who sat in the same lonesome position as I once had. Seeing these students made me want to rectify the unspoken and spoken injustice of being a minority student. I ultimately chose my project because education equity is incredibly meaningful to me. I believe that one of the best ways a teacher can be intentionally inclusive is to value culturally responsive teaching for all students.
Future Plans for Project: I hope to engage in meaningful work that has the ability to make someone else’s life experience better.